Ministry to present Khel Ratna to Sindhu and Sakshi also

The Sports Ministry on Monday confirmed the awarding of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to Rio Olympics medallist Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu along with shooter Jitu Rai and gymnast Dipa Karmakar for their exceptional performances.

The ministry had earlier cleared Rai and Dipa’s names for the award with the caveat that any medallist at Rio would automatically be included in the list. Both Sakshi and Sindhu won their respective medals — bronze in wrestling and silver in badminton — after the meeting of the recommendations committee last week. Besides these, 15 Arjuna awardees, six Dronacharya awardees for excellence in coaching and three Dhyan Chand awardees for lifetime achievement in sports were also named.

The national sports awards are given every year to recognise and reward consistent excellence in sports over a period of the preceding four years.

Apart from a medal and a citation, the Khel Ratna awardees will receive a cash prize of Rs. 7.5 lakh each. Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and Rs. 5 lakh each. The MAKA Trophy winner will get a trophy, certificate and Rs. 10 lakh. Recipients of the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar would be given trophies and certificates. The awards will be presented at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.

The winners: Khel Ratna: Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics), Jitu Rai (shooting), Sakshi Malik (wrestling), P.V. Sindhu (badminton).

Arjuna Award: Rajat Chauhan (archery), Lalita Babar (athletics), Sourav Kothari (cue sports), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (cricket), Subrata Paul (football), Rani Rampal (hockey), V.R. Raghunath (hockey), Apurvi Chandela (shooting), Gurpreet Singh (shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (table tennis), Amit Kumar (wrestling), Vinesh Phogat (wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (para-athletics), Virender Singh (para-athletics).

Dronacharya Award: Nagapuri Ramesh (athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (cricket), Bisweswar Nandi (gymnastics), S. Pradeep Kumar (swimming, lifetime), Mahabir Phogat (wrestling, lifetime).

Dhyan Chand Award: Satti Geetha (athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (rowing). Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Purushkar: Identification and nurturing of young talent: Hockey Citizen Group, Dadar Parsee Zorostrian cricket club, Usha School of Athletics, STAIRS; Encouragement through CSR: India Infrastructure Finance Corporate Limited; Employment to sportspersons: Reserve Bank of India; Sports for development: Subroto Mukherjee Sports Education Society. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy for inter-university winner: Punjabi University, Patiala.

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